Record-setting performances highlight the week in Lake County
Grayslake North standout Peyton Gerdes made some history recently.
Gerdes passed the 1,000-career point barrier in the Knights' recent win against Antioch. Notable in that contest was Gerdes recording a triple-double with 28 points, 13 rebounds and doing it the hard way with 10 blocked shots. She averaged 28.3 points per game last week.
North sat at 8-12 overall and 1-5 in Northern Lake County play to start the week. Coach Roger Lass noted Dani Hanson has also been a big spark for the team of late.
"Dani is playing very well, sparking our defense with her pressure and getting us organized on offense," he said.
Also joining the 1,000-career point club recently was Carmel's Grace Sullivan, who hit the key benchmark in the team's 58-45 win over Lincoln-Way Central. Jordan Wood led Carmel with 17 points in the game. Junior Mia Gillis canned the game-winning shot in the team's 51-49 win over Maine South at the DeKalb shootout. The Corsairs were 14-5 to start the week.
"I feel that we are coming together for the state tournament, and we are continuing to strive to play our best basketball when it matters most," Carmel coach Ben Berg said.
And more records are falling. Lakes' Janae Pullen broke the school record for 3-pointers made in a season. She had 51 early in the week, the old record was 50. Clarity Turney is closing in on the single-season steals record for the Eagles. She has 66 and needs 14 more to break the record of 79. Brian Phelan's squad was 9-12 overall and 4-2 in Northern Lake County action.
The Patriots (22-1, 9-0 North Suburban to start the week) continue to roll and part of that has been because of the play of Kate Arne.
"Kate has really been the unsung hero of our team thus far," coach Ashley Graham said. "She has been playing with a great deal of confidence, and at 6-2 has been a tremendous shot-blocker for us, not to mention the amount of shots she alters, and her strong presence in the lane. Her agility, coupled with her length really has caused problems for our opponents."
Kendell Williams is yet another bright spot for Graham's crew. "I cannot say enough about the energy and passion Kendell plays with," Graham said. "She plays 100 percent on both ends of the court, often guarding the other team's best player. She plays with such a strong love for the game and her teammates."
Stevenson defeated Downers Grove North on Monday following a big North Suburban win over Libertyville after being down by 7 points late.
Round Lake update:
Lilli Burton, Taylor Major and Amari Cole continue to wreak havoc on both ends of the floor for the Panthers (19-3, 6-1 Northern Lake County through early week). That trio averages 36 points and 6 assists per game, along with a combined average of 23 rebounds and 10 steals.
"Lilli, Taylor and Amari have continued to lead us through the season," Panthers coach Molly Hennig said. "They have great chemistry on the court and a knack for finding each other at key moments in games. They have been a force defensively as well."
Major had a career-high 24 points in a win over Grayslake Central, while Cole added 16 points. Round Lake, which won its own Martin Luther King shootout event, saw strong play from Evelyn Vazquez there. Vazquez had a career-high 10 points in the title game against Maine East.
"The MLK tournament allowed for several girls to step up in key moments due to injuries, such as Evelyn, who is a freshman," Hennig said. "My team continues to impress me with their intensity and effort given on each possession. It is fun to watch this team and how hard they play for each other in every game."
Vernon Hills update:
The Cougars came back from a 14-point hole in the third quarter and defeated Maine West on a last-second shot by Caylie Zahnow. In that contest, Alexa Cieslinski had 13 points, Grace Koepke 11 points and Ava Barszcz had 10 points. Also playing well of late has been Kate Sear.
"Kate has grown as a player," said coach Paul Brettner, whose team was 5-2 in Central Suburban North play to start the week. "Since we got back from winter break, she is more confident as a shooter, ballhandler and defender. She has made a big difference for our team."
The Bulldogs were 10-7 overall and 4-3 in Northern Lake County action to start the week.
"We are still struggling with consistency," Wauconda coach Jaime Dennis said. "We are struggling and need someone to step up to be the leader. The floor lacks leadership, which causes the inconsistency.
The Wildcats are coming off a big win over Willowbrook at the Coach Kipp's Hoopsfest. Libertyville also lost by 4 points to Stevenson in North Suburban action.
"We played well enough where we left that game feeling like we can compete with anyone in the state," 'Cats coach Greg Pedersen said.
Emily Fisher was named player of the game against Willowbrook after a 20-point, 12-rebound and 6-block performance. Kristina Kotzan (15 points, 10 rebounds) and Kate Rule (11 points) also were key, while Libby Ryan and Rachel Rule both made 2 free throws in the last minute to seal the game.
Fisher had recent back-to-back 20-point performances. "As her teammates start to make people pay for doubling and tripling her, Emily has found more space to work," Pedersen said. "Emily has found more space to work."
Pedersen noted Fisher also blocked 6 shots and took 2 charges in the Willowbrook win. "That's Emily directly altering eight Willowbrook possessions, which shouldn't go undervalued," he said.
Kotzan's 15-10 effort was her first double-double of her career. "Kristina did a good job of capitalizing on driving lanes and putback opportunities," Pedersen said. "We need that when teams send helpers to contain Emily."
Lake Zurich update:
Youth has been the name of the game lately for the Bears. Sophomore Anna Gilbertson had 20 points against Stevenson, while freshman Molly Friesen led the team in scoring with 11 points against Waukegan (all 14 players scored in the game).
Coach Chris Bennett noted freshman Avery Cooper has averaged 6 points per game over the last two weeks, "looking much more comfortable on the floor," he said. "Molly Friesen also has worked her way into playing more minutes over the last two week. I am looking for big things from both of them the rest of the year."
Junior Baylie Parks led the team with 11 points in a recent game against Geneva. Bennett pointed out eight of Lake Zurich's nine losses have been against teams that have been in the state rankings at some point during the season. "We are playing competitive games against the state's best," he said. "It's just a matter of learning how to close out games."
It's been a wild year for the Mustangs, who have been led by the likes of sophomore Rylan Foster and senior Madison Werner. Foster averages 10.3 points and 8.4 rebounds and has 3 double-doubles this year, while Werner plays any position the Mustangs need her to play, coach Greg Dorgan noted.
"For the most part, this season has been so much more challenging," he said. "With only seven players for most of the season, and now six due to a recent injury, constantly dealing with illness throughout the program or other teams postponing games, there has been little opportunity for finding rhythm in practices and games. We owe it to our seniors to keep fighting to be competitive, but we have also been realistic to practice together with our JV to build chemistry to finish the season and years to come. Our players continue to impress our coaching staff with their positive attitudes and coachability. Only one player on our roster has played in an IHSA playoff game, so we look forward to finishing the season with some momentum going into that playoff game."
Grayslake Central update:
Madison Hoffmann has been the Rams' leading scorer and rebounder most of the season, "and considering she is a freshman, that shows you how talented she is," Central coach Steve Ikenn said. "As the year is going on, she is becoming a better defender and showing she can play anywhere on the floor."
Monica Schleg, Ikenn added, has picked up her scoring of late. "When a player expends a ton of energy on the defensive end of the court, it can sometimes affect their scoring," he said. "Monica has been our defensive stopper at the wing all season, but her scoring has been going up as the year goes on, which is a credit to her effort and conditioning."